Western Australian Accent – Place Names And How To Pronounce Them

Australians can be hard to understand and the funny names of various places in Australia can be even more confusing! So, we’ve put together some (sometimes difficult to pronounce) Australian place names to help you understand Australian speakers better and be understood by native speakers more clearly also!

Hi, Esther here from Speak More Clearly!

I’m at the fantastic Cable Beach again and the sun is setting a beautiful orange, mauve, purple, and pink colour. So we thought we’d bring you some names of some of the places in the Northern Territory and Western Australia in this part of the world.


Iconic Place Names in the Northern Territory and Western Australia:

Watch the English pronunciation video lesson above for how to pronounce each iconic place name. You can see the phonetic spelling for each place name below:

1. Darwin  /ˈdawən/

It’s not Da-win but Da-wn. The ‘i’ becomes a schwa.

2. Katherine  /ˈkæθrən/

The name of another large town. Not ‘Kath-ren’ but ‘Kath-rn’. Listen for the schwas and the stressed syllables. 

3. Kununurra  /kʌnəˈnʌrə/

A place in the Kimberleys that has amazing land formations gorges and waterfalls.

4. Wyndham  /ˈwɪndəm/

There’s an ‘h’ in there, but we don’t say the ‘h’. 

5. Turkey Creek  /ˈtɜki.krik/

 In /creek/, make sure you say the ‘e’ long enough.

6. Halls Creek  /hɔlz.krik/

Again /creek/, do it long enough.

7. Fitzroy Crossing  /fɪtsrɔɪ ˈkrɒsɪŋ/

Now there is a /z/ in that Fitzroy, but in this case, it’s saying an /s/ (Fitsroy).

8. Perth  /pɜθ/

So the ‘er’ is not /r/.

9. Exmouth  /ˈɛksmaʊθ/

It’s spelled E-X-M-O-U-T-H which should be /ex-mouth/ but we say /ex-muhth/ so the ou becomes a schwa de-stressed

10. Karratha  /kəˈraθə/

/k/ plus a schwa

11. Port Headland  /pɔtˈhɛdlənd/

The ‘or’ says ‘aw’. We don’t pronounce the ‘r’ in /port/.

12. Pardoo  /ˈpɑː.duː/

Make sure you make the ‘oo’ long enough. 

13. Sandfire  /sændˈfaɪə/

14. Broome /brum/

Make the ‘oo’ long enough. It’s not Broom with a short ‘oo’.

15. Roebuck  /ˈroʊbʌk/

Make sure the short ‘oo’ – the 2nd vowel in ‘oe’ is said before the /b/.


And just a last quick thing, when in doubt, make the vowel slightly longer, unless it’s a schwa, a weak syllable. Make the vowels slightly longer and you’ll get much closer to an Australian accent. For fantastic pronunciation training, don’t forget to have a look at our Australian, American, and British accent reduction courses.

For more Australian English Fluency Training, check out this lesson on Australian Slang Phrases.

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